Tag Archives: pie

Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pandowdy

The grandkids and a friend, Delaney, came over this week to help me pick apples.  My tree was loaded this year, and It took all of us with the ladder to get about 50 lbs of apples!  (and a few of Cooper’s favorites – carrots!)  The apples in the top of the tree (which I failed to prune last year) will fall eventually and then the deer will be happy once more!

apple picking time

It was hard for me to keep them from eating them as fast as they picked them…especially the carrots, but after a good hose washing, picking out the worms


(in the case of the all organic apples) and biting around the bird pecks and the deer bites…everyone got a taste of goodness!

Now the chore of peeling, coring, slicing and packaging these beauties for the freezer, and some fresh apply treats….apple pie, apple crisp, applesauce, apple fritters, etc.

I know!  APPLE PANDOWDY!  The kids had never heard that term, and I was curious too, so I looked it up!

When I was growing up, my mom’s favorite TV show was the Dinah Shore Show…many of you weren’t born yet, so you won’t remember, but she made one song famous that we sang around the house “Shoe Fly Pie and Apple Pandowdy”.  I grew up wondering what those enticing sounding foods were made of besides the obvious – apples…but probably not flies…eouwwwww!  Well now that I’m writing  food blog and humming the song once again…I did a bit of research!

Shoe Fly Pie has it’s roots in the South and can be anything from caramel based pie to a kind of pie that has a soft gooey center like Pecan Pie…just without the pecans!  That sort of makes my teeth hurt just thinking about it.

But Apple Pandowdy has a longer history.  The word “pandowdy” is something of a mystery and its origins are contested among dictionaries and historians.  Some think that pandowdy is an eighteenth century Americanization of the French word pandoulde which means “custard or pudding”.  Other believe that it comes from an English dialectic found in the original colonies of pan + dowl – which means to mix dough in a hurry (Perhaps a variant of dough).  A third meaning derives from our current word dowdy, which means  rather plain or unlovely.  My granny used to say that a pandowdy was basically a one crust apple pie with bits of left over pie crust “dowdied” on top….by that she meant that she covered her apples with strips of left over crust from all the other pies she was baking that morning which she pushed down into the cinnamon juice of the apples to glaze them before baking.  This often made a softer, biscuit-like crust.  But however this humble dish got its name, it is very delicious!  Here’s the one we made:


3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling

1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Apple Filling: 

6 or 7 pie apples (Granny Smith, Jonathan, MacIntosh, Roma, etc.) peeled and cut into slices to make 6 cups of fruit.*

1/3-1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar – depending on the tartness of your apples

(I like to substitute 1/4 c Maple Syrup – here’s how:)  http://www.ehow.com/how_7384139_substitute-maple-syrup-brown-sugar.html

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg (fresh ground if you have the nuts on hand)

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 tablespoon heavy cream

2 teaspoons coarse sugar

*All kinds of optional fruit can be added like:  raisins, rhubarb, raspberries, cranberries, etc. to be included in the 6 cups.

Make crust: In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly, but holds together when squeezed (if necessary, add 1 tablespoon more ice water). Do not overmix. Form dough into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm.

Mix sugar, lemon, flour, salt and spices together and mix liberally with fruit.  Place the fruit mixture in the bottom of a deep dish.  Allow apple mixture to macerate for 15 minutes.  Dot with butter over the surface of the apples.

Roll out dough and cut into uneven strips.  Place dough strips at various angles across the top of the pie leaving a few holes for filling to bubble through and brush with cream. (This is the dowdying part).   Sprinkle coarse sugar over crust and bake at 350 for about 50 minutes or until the top of the crust is browned and apples are bubbly.

Serve with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Hope you enjoy this down-home treat!

apple and cranberry pandowdy 2

Happy Pi(e) Day

Yesterday was officially Pi Day…you know the 3.1415926535… kind of pi. Lots of clever word games with pi out there.

3_14-pie-small But of course…we made it into Pi(e) Day. So postmodern! Our version was the berry kind.

This was the cooking lesson chosen by unanimous consent.  First, as I picked up the gkids from school for one of our cooking days, the lobby of their private church school was filled with all kinds of pie.  Seems there was a fundraiser going on, and Pi Day was also Pie Day for the kids.  Resisting the very gorgeous homemade pies of all stripes….the only way to satisfy these kids’ sweet teeth was to make one of our own.

Besides…daddy was coming to the dinner we were about to prepare together, and Daddy looooves pie.  So pie it was.  I had some early Washington strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in the fridge (I try to keep stocked up on these superfruit) but what we really needed was cherries!  But cherries are pretty much out of season, so what’s a Nana to do?….stalk the canned fruit aisle to see if there were any good canned organic cherries.  I considered frozen ones, but they are usually those dark sweet cherries…and we needed pie cherries.

tart%20cherriesI have very mixed feelings about cherries because as a kid, I used to raid Grandma Ruby’s cherry trees for these sweet treats.  I have had my share of green cherry belly aches, scraped knees from trying to skinny up or falling out of her trees,  but also have her wonderful cherry pie recipe that is so delicious, you can’t resist it.  So I definitely felt we needed cherries to represent!  But I was looking for “pie” cherries – those smaller, tart, paler cherry cousins to the lush dark red sweet ones I usually find in the grocery store.  I have not found fresh ones here in the Northwest.

So the next best thing was Oregon Montmorency Cherries – great for pies.

We fixed other things for dinner..(green stuff for St. Patty’s Day) but we will get to that later!

Here’s a pictorial review of our process

oregon cherries20130314_160422_resized20130314_160926_resized

So we had our cherries.  I like to combine these with other fresh berries to make a very flavorful pie (with less sugar needed!).  So into the pie plate we dumped a pint ofraspberries and a pint of blueberries along with 2 cans of our cherries.  We opted to make more of a cobbler (one crust) but we decided it still counted as pi(e)!  We added 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 4T of organic cornstarch, and a splash of lemon juice mixed into the berries.  Next, dot 2 pats of butter (cut into tiny squares) over the top of the berries.

20130314_162021(0)_resizedNext we made pie crust in the food processor.  1 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup cold butter cut in small cubes, 1/2 t salt, and about 1/4 cup ice water.  Pulse the butter into the flour and salt until it is crumbly and well mixed.  Dribble enough cold water through holes in the lid while spinning until dough just comes together in a ball. It may or may not be exactly 1/4 cup.  Don’t over blend.  The dough will be crumbly. (For the old fashioned 2 crust recipe, see the recipe section).

Turn out on a floured surface and form into a flat disk.  Refrigerate in plastic wrap for 30 minutes (this is really important for flaky crust).

When chilled, roll out, starting in the center and pushing outward, into a rough circle.20130314_162312_resized  When sized appropriately, roll up on rolling-pin and transfer to the pie top.  Cut some slits in the top crust and crimp the edges.  Kids love this part!

Sprinkle the pie top with a pinch of sugar and bake in a 375 degree preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until crust is browned and pie is bubbly!


Can I just say….Pi(e) Day was a big hit!